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Social Mobility Myths Paperback – 17 May 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Civitas: Institute for the Study of Civil Society (17 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906837147
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906837143
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 714,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Peter Saunders is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Sussex. He is also a freelance consultant and independent author. He was previously Social Research Director at the Centre for Independent Studies, Sydney, and Research Manager at the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Melbourne.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kieran M O'Halloran on 6 May 2014
Format: Paperback
Peter Saunders's 1997 paper, Social Mobility in Britain, which a lot of this book is based on, is a shockingly poor piece of research. Saunders makes quite basic methodological errors (some of which are highlighted by Goldthorpe and Breen in their subsequent replies). Saunders also totally misrepresents the views of those whose research contradicts his thesis, such as Gordon and Swift. Finally, he claims there has been no research into his central thesis (that characterological traits determine class destination), which is untrue: Heath, Mills and Robertson (1992), Jan Jonsson (1993) and Breen and Whelan (1993) all examine the association between class origin and class destination (i.e. social mobility) and whether that association still stands when controlling for various 'merit' factors, and all find that, in fact, does.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Dave on 3 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very interesting and thoughtful book. It nicely shows how much that we commonly read about social mobility fails to paint the whole picture. It provides the facts behind the reported facts, in a highly accessible manner, and lays out the contradictions and limitations of measures which are commonly reported.

I would regard this book as being aimed more towards the broadsheet reader than the academic audience myself. It provides a substantive overview to the issues behind social mobility, but is as selective in the cases it wishes to make as the examples being critiqued in many places. This text cannot be the sole, comprehensive guide to the issue as the reality is much more complex than any singular position can achieve. It is a stronger version of the story of mobility than politicians care to speak of.

It does however, create a bit of a straw man argument by claiming the author is alone with British sociologist in denying that social mobility no longer exists. It's a shame there is so much focus on dispelling research providing an opposing view, and little, if any, reference to the many studies which support it. This creates a rather unfair perception of sociology in my opinion.

The text is very argumentative. The somewhat strange argument is presented that left-wing people want to claim there is less social mobility which right-wing people want to claim there is more. I don't see this as being true at all. Indeed, researchers have argued that whilst social mobility is increasing, so is social inequality. This distinction between social mobility and social inequality is lost in much of the narrative, which is very confrontational.

I agree with the argument that politicians and journalists like to talk about the death of social mobility.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By symphara on 15 Aug. 2011
Format: Paperback
Well written and quite absorbing. Does exactly what it says on the tin: a believable job at dispelling social mobility myths that plague public policies in Britain and elsewhere. A hard to swallow book for left-wing fanatics.
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